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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Fired for Not Punching Out

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Michigan

    I was recently fired from my job for forgetting to punch out before I left the night prior. Is there a legal issue there? In the employee handbook, it states that not punching out is a violation of policy and that the first offense will get you a warning, a second offense will get you an unpaid day off, the third offense will get you 3 days unpaid leave, and the 4th offense will result in a 5 day leave, pending decision to terminate. I would have been on my 'three day' offense. Are they in the wrong here?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fired for Not Punching Out

    If you are a unionized employee, you should have your local file a grievance on your behalf promptly.

    Unfortunately, if you are an “at-will” employee, your possible options are far more limited and possibly non-existent. Most employers include “disclaimers” in their employee handbooks which reaffirm that the employees work on an at-will basis and can be discharged irrespective of contrary provisions in the handbook.

    You should examine your handbook closely. If it includes one or more prominent disclaimers, you cannot rely on your handbook as possible basis for challenging your discharge. If in the slight chance your handbook does not include a disclaimer, then you should contact a local attorney experienced in employment law. The Michigan courts have endorsed “implied-in-fact breach of contract” challenges based on employee handbooks lacking disclaimers.

    Separately, you should apply for unemployment insurance compensation benefits. It should prove difficult for your employer to establish you engaged in “willful misconduct” when your failure to punch out constituted a “third offense” under its own handbook.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    437

    Default Re: Fired for Not Punching Out

    In the employee handbook, it states that not punching out is a violation of policy and that the first offense will get you a warning, a second offense will get you an unpaid day off, the third offense will get you 3 days unpaid leave, and the 4th offense will result in a 5 day leave, pending decision to terminate.

    I imagine the employee handbook also has disclaimers in it stating it does not constitute an employment contract, that all employees are employees "at will" and also that the company can amend, change, or disregard the policies stated therein whenever they feel it's appropriate (or words to that effect.)

    Whether the company was wrong in terminating you after your third failure to punch out is a matter of opinion. As a matter of law, they didn't do anything illegal.

    File for unemployment benefits and start looking for a new job.

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